Monday, December 14, 2009

"Mutually-Antagonistic Interactions in Baseball Networks"

We interrupt this fixation on student interviews (as well as the 2000 extra special taxes that the UK government wants to charge me---hopefully incorrectly) for the following news bulletin:

My baseball networks article has now officially appeared in print. Because of the journal's printed backlog, it's actually in issue number 5 of a 2010 volume, but anyway it has official page numbers now, so it's time to link to my paper in this spot.

Title: Mutually-Antagonistic Interactions in Baseball Networks

Authors: Serguei Saavedra, Scott Powers, Trent McCotter, Mason A. Porter, Peter J. Mucha

Abstract: We formulate the head-to-head matchups between Major League Baseball pitchers and batters from 1954 to 2008 as a bipartite network of mutually-antagonistic interactions. We consider both the full network and single-season networks, which exhibit structural changes over time. We find interesting structure in the networks and examine their sensitivity to baseball's rule changes. We then study a biased random walk on the matchup networks as a simple and transparent way to (1) compare the performance of players who competed under different conditions and (2) include information about which particular players a given player has faced. We find that a player's position in the network does not correlate with his placement in the random walker ranking. However, network position does have a substantial effect on the robustness of ranking placement to changes in head-to-head matchups.

And, of course, it's always good to be able to discuss Bert Blyleven in one of my research papers. He better get elected to the Hall of Fame in 2010, damnit!

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